Happy Labor Day!

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It is the Friday before Labor Day weekend… with a much deserved extra day off!

Check out your to-do list, rock out what is mission critical, and leave work on time today!

You have been working hard all year so take your 3 day weekend to rest, relax, and recover to come back next week with restored energy and drive!

You’ve got this!

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday


We made it through another week!

It’s the first Friday of March…. we’ve almost made it to the end of Q1.

What goals or projects have you already finished?

Where do you need to pick up the pace?

Celebrate your accomplishments this week and keep rockin’ it out!

A Teamwork Twist

I don’t know about you but after watching that video I want to (drink a coke and) work together with someone to accomplish something!

Having great teamwork and problem solving together is an art.

There has to be a common cause that people are rallying around… and it can be as simple as opening a coke bottle!

What is your team rallying around? What are you going after or trying to accomplish?

Today, think about how you can share that common vision to bring your team together!

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

You can’t get everything done that you need to and you have a team for a reason- so, you delegate.

We’ve all heard the word…we all know what it means.

So, how do you do it? It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1. Decide what you will delegate.

Look at all the work you have and separate out the tasks that only you can do with the tasks that others can do as well.

Step 2. Determine clear expectations and tangible results.

Sit down with your direct report and explain what they will be doing and your expectations for how the task gets done and when it is to be competed by.

Step 3. Monitor results.

Schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure the task has been completed, review how completing the task went, and answer any questions.

It’s that easy, right? … YEAH, RIGHT!!

If delegation really was as easy as A, B, C – we would all be doing it flawlessly. And, there would be no reason for hundreds of books, articles, and trainings on the art of delegation.

Over the next weeks we will be digging through what holds us back from delegating and what we can do to overcome those things.

Between now and then- think about one task you can delegate. And, try it!

Trust Your Gut

Ever had that deep-down feeling that you’re right?


We all have different experiences, background, preconceived notions, environments, etc. All of these things come together to make us who we are, help us make decisions, and ultimately gives us our ‘gut’.

How have you used your ‘gut’ successfully (or unsuccessfully) recently?


Want to read more about what this ‘gut’ is and how/when to trust it?  Try these:

The Neuroscience of Trusting your Gut

The Art (and Science) of “Trusting your Gut”

How to Know when to Trust your Gut

High Five


Andrew Maxwell-Parish built a high five camera (a GoPro attached to a little microprocessor that turned on the camera for high fives) and filmed all the high fives he gave folks along the San Francisco waterfront – the piers, the Ferry Building, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

I’d say 95% of the folks he high-fived were grinning. I’d say that he probably made 100% of the folks he made contact with happier that day.

What would happen if you celebrated the existence of everyone you manage (either high-fiving or some other way)? How would the mood/energy/environment change or not change?

Smarter, not Harder

Dogbert the Generic Manager

There’s a reason why an enormous amount of Dilbert cartoons deal with ‘working smarter, not harder’. I’m confessing to a personal pet peeve here shared (I think) by many managers. It implies that I wasn’t working smart (seriously? Like I enjoy working dumb?) and my hard work was time wasted. Okay, maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but let’s talk about better ways to coach yourself and others to truly work smarter, not harder.

  • Diagnose the problem – Is there truly an overload of work? And if so why? Consider the factors of time, resources, skill, and support. What’s missing or lower than it should be to accomplish the project?
  • Inform – Communicate and collaborate to get agreement on the priorities. Ask for assistance where needed. Tell the team what you’re doing so they can plan their work accordingly
  • Delegate or contract – Move things that can be done by others to others. Eliminate unnecessary tasks or portions of the project
  • Get to work – All the above will only get you so far. After doing all that, get to the tasks at hand and start moving

Though not like this:


More like this:


Sidekick or Superhero?


Nobody wanted to be the sidekick when we were kids playing at the park. Jumping over hot lava and alligator pits at the playground (didn’t you have those under the monkey bars?) –  it was important for all of us to be superheroes.

Growing up and working, making decisions, and jumping over symbolic hot lava, I’ve realized that either having sidekicks or being a great one is crucial. There’s a reason why the term “trusty sidekick” was born.  And let’s be honest – managers in the middle end up being sidekicks more than heroes.

If you’re a hero, a great sidekick has your back, shore up your weak points, and make you explain your thinking.

If you’re a sidekick, appreciate that you bring unique perspectives to the job, you extend the reach of the hero, and you make your hero look good. If you’ve got a good hero (and not an evil super villain), you’re supported, protected, and appreciated.

For fun, here are some heroes and their sidekicks:

  • Batman/Robin
  • Don Quixote/Sancho Panza
  • The Green Hornet/Kato
  • Mr. Incredible/Frozone
  • Iron Man/Lt Col James Rhodey
  • Captain Kirk/Spock
  • Bilbo Baggins/Samwise Gamgee
  • Harry Potter/ Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley
  • Wallace/Gromit
  • The Lone Ranger/Tonto
  • Winnie the Pooh/Piglet
  • Charle Bucket/Grandpa Joe
  • Johnny Carson/Ed McMahon
  • Sherlock Holmes/Watson
  • Oberon/Puck
  • Maverick/Goose
  • Fred Flintstone/Barney Rubble
  • Spongebob/Patrick
  • Andy Taylor/Barney Fife
  • Sheriff Woody/Buzz Lightyear
  • Shrek/Donkey
  • Han Solo/Chewbacca

This is by no means an all inclusive list.   Got any others?


Monkees nope

Lots and lots of people spend lots and lots of time creating missions, values, and purposes. To be sure, these things are important – to align and prioritize teams, projects, and organizations.

BUT! One of the most powerful ways of differentiating and prioritizing is listing the what Not-To-Do. Peter Drucker calls the inverse of priorities,  ‘posteriorities’. If your tongue, like mine, gets tangled up saying that, just call it the ‘not to do’ list. Peter Drucker also called it ‘planned abandonment’. Read more about this from the source on the Drucker Exchange here.


Transparency used to mean ‘see through’. More recently, it’s been vogue to talk about transparency in terms of information and context. Why?

Things have gotten more complicated and simple at the same time. Let’s take the progress of communication technology as an example. The communication tools I used as a small child (two cans with string between and shouting), progressed to a telephone and transistor radio (both of which I was able to disassemble into tiny pieces), and now consists of the internet and my iPhone (things that are rather mysterious to me and hard to take apart and understand). But the Internet and my iPhone are actually more simple to use than any of the others above.

This circuit board diagram from XKCD could be absolutely correct for all I know about designing hardware.

Circuit Diagram

So anyway, what’s the point and why I am I talking about this?

Middle managers are increasingly dealing with complex issues. A process diagram of how an important decision is made and executed at the middle manager level, utilizing all the stakeholders (collaborators, bosses, customers, peers, and  employees) is likely as nutty as the diagram above.

The ‘connectors’ between decision points is communication: communicate about what the goals are, what roles and responsibilities each stakeholder has, timelines, where there could be resistance, status updates. Whether you do it in written form, with two tin cans and a string, texting, Tweeting, Facebook, blogging, or hallway conversations, getting the job done involves connecting the dots.

Thoughtful transparency helps everyone do their job better.